Middlebury selectmen hike water, sewer rates

MIDDLEBURY — Ninety percent of Middlebury water and sewer users will see an increase in rates in the fourth quarter of this year, after Middlebury selectmen approved a new rate structure Monday.
Currently, minimum rate users are charged for 7,500 gallons of water and close to one-third of these users are not using the full 7,5000 gallons.
The present water rate is $2.85 per 1,000 gallons used; with a minimum charge for 7,500 gallons that works out to $21.38 for anything up to 7,500 gallons.
The new rate structure will put in place a base rate of $30 for 3,000 gallons of water and $2.98 per 1,000 gallons for amounts over 3,000 gallons. For homeowners who use 7,500 gallons that works out to $43.41.
The new sewer rate structure will follow suit. The current rate of $5.94 per 1,000 gallons used will be replaced by a base rate of $36 for 3,000 gallons and $7.78 for each 1,000 gallons beyond 3,000.
Selectmen opted against potential tiered pricing system based on volume used that was earlier considered.
There are a small number of residents who will see no rate change. Middlebury Assistant Town Manager Joseph Colangelo said village residents that pay minimum water and sewer rates will see a $34 increase in their annual water bill and a $34 decrease in their annual sewer bill.
“Between the water and waste water funds if you have the minimum, if you use the 3,000 gallons, which about 10 percent of the users on the system do, you’re rate will not change at all,” Colangelo said. “You will be paying what you are currently paying.”
But for the other 90 percent of water and sewer users the rate increase will affect their bill. Seventy-five-hundred-gallon users will see a $193 annual increase; 12,000-gallon users will see a $229 annual increase and the largest water users can expect a $20,697 annual increase.
A rough estimate by the town figured that a family of four would use about 12,000 gallons of water and sewer capacity a year.
The town’s municipal water and sewer rates, which will take effect Oct. 1, have remained unchanged since 2000. The rate increase is designed to offset swelling expenses at a time of declining use of those services.
Colangelo said told selecmen to make up that funding gap, rates are going to have to increase.
“If we keep the rates the same in both funds, we will not be able to continue operating the systems in the same capacity and provide the same services that we have provided in the past,” Colangelo said.
Selectman Bill Perkins said he was concerned for the 7,500-gallon users stating that the annual increase could pack a big financial hit.
“There are some people for whom this will be a burden,” he said.
In other business, selectmen also approved the transfer of a liquor and tobacco license from Greg Wry, owner of Greg’s Meat Market in Middlebury since 1981, to potential buyers Lisa Hartman and Bart Litvin of Montclair, N.J. Though the sale of the business is not final, the potential buyers hope to close by the end of the month. Wry said he feels confident in the prospective buyers and thinks they will do a great job with the store.
“We met the employees and a lot of the folks around town,” said Litvin. “We are committed to the community.”

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